Statement from Occupy London in support of Occupy Oakland

The following statement was passed at tonight’s General Assembly, which was held outside Westminster Abbey just across the road from the Houses of Parliament:

We send our support and warm wishes to Occupy Oakland from Occupy London.  We unreservedly condemn the deliberate and planned police brutality and violence inflicted on non-violent Occupy protesters, including those aiming to take over an abandoned building to use as a community centre.

We are horrified that armed Oakland police surrounded, tear-gassed, beat and fired rubber bullets at demonstrators, including children.  Video footage shows the police firing rubber bullets at kettled protesters.  Over 300 people were arrested and taken into custody.  Some were tear gassed in their cells, handcuffed so their hands lost all sensation, denied food, medication and access to toilets, and forced to sit in their urine and vomit for hours, a clear human rights violation.

As the home of the Black Panther Party, we know that Oakland has a tremendous history of organising, and faces particular targeting by police.  The recent “F*ck the Police” demos are an important message that we will not tolerate the violence of the 1% per cent aimed at ensuring the smooth transfer of our wealth to them.

We condemn Mayor Quan for spending $5 million to police and attack Occupy protesters, and for calling on people to support non-profits instead.  Non-profits must immediately, visibly and loudly refuse to be used to attack independent activity and organising. If they don’t they will be condemned for collaborating in the attacks on Occupy and the movement for justice for the sake of their own funding and careers.

From the start, Oakland has been a strength for us. Your October 2011 statement that “Every grievance against this system is worthy of a collective response” spoke for all of us.  We cheered when Occupy brought thousands of unwaged and waged workers together to shut down the ports.

We are delighted that despite attacks and evictions, Occupy Oakland are still taking to the streets, saying enough of endless money to pay for the banks’ crisis, while people are made homeless and impoverished.

Some UK occupations have been evicted but people have stayed together and continued to organise. Others are facing threats of eviction. The uprisings this summer in response to yet another killing by police saw many young people arrested, criminalised and given punitive and sadistic sentences.  In London, we are demanding that St Paul’s and the church stand with the 99 per cent against any attack on Occupy by the police and government.

Your creative organising gives courage to our movement, here and in other countries. The overwhelming power of the 99% is, as the protestors chanted, “unstoppable”.

From Occupy London, 3 Feb 2012